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5 Ways To Deal With Difficult People

5 Ways To Deal With Difficult People

Nobody likes difficult people.vWe call them many things, including, “Rude customers”, “Annoying friends”, “Family who don’t understand you”, “Spoiled girlfriend,  “Arrogant boss”, to name a few.

It can be pretty aggravating and upsetting even when you encounter such people, especially when you didn’t do anything at all to deserve this rudeness.

It’s then easy to dwell in negative thinking, like, “What did I do to deserve this? Life is so unfair!” or “I hate him (or her)!” But that’s too easy. If you want a better way to deal with difficult people, put in the effort to rather use following 5 tips.

Remember, reacting in an average way is easy. Being difficult and also taking your problems out on others is also easy. Go the hard route for a better life.

1. Realize that they may be suffering and put yourself in their shoes

When you encounter a difficult person, try to put yourself in their shoes. Difficult people are only being difficult because they’re suffering.

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Instead of judging them, Listen to them. If you’re patient enough, listen to the difficult person’s problems after he’s done being difficult. If you’re not, then listen to your gut, instincts and what others have to say.

For example, your girlfriend or boyfriend may be acting difficult to you, but after listening, you may discover that they’re trying to get your attention because they really need you. They aren’t taking you for granted or intentionally being a brat.

The whole idea is to make sure that you don’t react impulsively on a negative level. Once you have a better understanding of where they’re coming from, you probably won’t feel so upset about them.

2. Realize they are not bad people, they are just difficult

I used to work in the service line in the nightlife industry before. And it was filled with difficult customers. It really made me miserable almost every working night as I had to deal with rude people all the time.

One night, my supervisor told me this, “These people are not bad people, rich and arrogant monsters, or your enemies. They’re just difficult customers.”

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That helped me a lot. It’s easy to ride the negative thought train and start getting paranoid. But don’t board that train. It’s just going to end up in a wreck. Difficult people are simply difficult people. With that in mind, find that one solution to deal with them.

E.g. I went from thinking, “This customer is so annoying! I wish I could punch him” to “This is just another difficult person. I’ll do my job the best way I can anyway.” See the difference?

3. Don’t react too fast. Be the bigger person.

You will most likely react negatively to a difficult person because you will talk back or even fight.

You’ve got to learn when to be quiet. It may sound like you’re giving in, but the whole idea here is to be the bigger person. The difficult one is long gone and far from being the bigger person.

This idea may sound counter-intuitive and hard, but nobody said being the bigger person is easy. 

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You take the reins inyour hands. People will respect you more that way. You’ll also grow as person a lot faster as you will know that you now will able to go through difficult times without causing any real trouble.

4. Focus intensely on being yourself so you don’t become like them

The last thing you want to happen is to become like them. The best revenge is always leading your own life and showing others how awesome and capable you are. Again, to react negatively and ultimately becoming difficult yourself is very easy. I doubt you want that.

So keep reflecting inwards instead. Think about how the situation can improve your life rather than how you can get back at them or make them suffer.

Difficult people may be difficult and annoying, but your life shouldn’t be made difficult because of them. Your life is your own

5. Know when to end the relationship entirely

There’re two schools of thought here.

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Sometimes, you should end the relationship with a difficult person because you owe it to yourself to live in a positive environment. A negative environment doesn’t do you any good and a positive one can transform your life for the better almost instantaneously.

There’s honestly no excuse to be in a negative environment filled with difficult people. You don’t need any of that nonsense!

Secondly, sometimes ending the relationship is better for both you and the difficult person in question.

I’ve personally fallen out with a few friends because I know they need it. I believe that they need to make their own mistakes in order to grow. To stick around and allow them to be difficult is simply allowing them to fuel their own negative energy and take those around them for granted. They’ll never learn that way.

So if you care enough, dump them. Walk away and let them grow. It’s for the best.

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Last Updated on July 15, 2020

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

How to Let Go of Toxic People in Your Life

“Entitlement is an expression of conditional love. Nobody is ever entitled to your love. You always have a right to protect your mental, emotional, and physical well-being by removing yourself from toxic people and circumstances.” -Dr. Janice Anderson & Kiersten Anderson

It’s not always obvious if you have someone toxic in your life. A toxic relationship is one that is harmful to you. A toxic person can create distress to the degree you feel inadequate and isolated. So, what makes a toxic person?

A toxic person has toxic behavior, meaning it’s not that the whole person is toxic[1]. It’s what they do that counts. Most toxic people run from accountability and misrepresent reality to you. They misrepresent your worth and your ability to heal from them can be stifled the longer you keep them in your life. You have a role to play with it as well; if your values are dismissed by them and you don’t act on it, you have allowed room for toxicity to grow.

When you are in a toxic relationship, you feel less than. You feel as though you are not worth anyone’s time or effort. You feel unheard, and sometimes you feel unsafe. You don’t feel good about yourself in a toxic relationship, whether it be with a partner, friend, or family member.

You may stay in a toxic relationship for a number of reasons. You may believe yourself to be a burden, have a lack of boundaries, resist change, fear conflict, try to be a people pleaser, find yourself codependent, or are partially stuck in a pattern or unhealthy cycle of abuse.

Letting go of toxic people may not be easy. In order to do so, you have to know why or how they are toxic to you and read between the lines that they do not have your best interests in mind.

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Letting go of toxic people is hard because you are good and want to see the good in others. You think their apologies are authentic. You have trouble believing they are being dishonest. You don’t spend time healing from it. You get pulled back into the pain because you don’t want it to end. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, it probably isn’t right.

You should walk away from a toxic person because you need to preserve your peace. You need to feel like yourself again. And you need better support.

Letting go of toxic people can involve four major steps.

1. Recognize the Red Flags

Red flags are signs a person is being toxic. It’s when someone shows characteristics that you should feel caution about. It’s when you feel any level of dissatisfaction and distrust. Trust your gut. When you recognize red flags, you can evaluate whether a person is trying to manipulate you or not. This gives you some level of control over what you allow in your life. The earlier you detect these behaviors, the better off you will be.

Red flags can include:

  • They always put themselves first.
  • They point out imperfections and sabotage your self-esteem.
  • You may feel drained or used when you’re around them.
  • What you give isn’t reciprocated. They don’t return the goodness you provide as a friend.
  • They ignore your boundaries and get angry when you tell them “no.”
  • You catch them in half truths or outright lies when you confront them about anything.
  • You are the villain; they are the victim.
  • Second chances always lead to repeated patterns of behavior.
  • They may engage in abuse.

2. Set Boundaries

There are emotional boundaries that one can set, but there are also physical ones[2]. You can leave any time. Setting boundaries is also an important part of self-care.

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You shouldn’t walk on eggshells. Tell them how you feel. Are they respecting you, fulfilling your needs, and listening to you? If not, it’s time to set up a healthy emotional distance and start letting go of toxic people around you.

There are levels to this. You have your inner circle, which could include family, and then you have acquaintances and strangers. If a toxic person is in your inner circle, it’s time to pull back and put up some boundaries for them to follow. If they can’t hear you out, you can cut off the connection completely.

You can give second chances, but you have to be careful. If someone knows they can get away with something, they will do it again. If there’s any chance for the relationship, they have to know not to cross certain lines.

3. Invest in Yourself

You deserve to know you are worthwhile. Try to remember that things will get better and that anything is possible. How do you do so? Invest in yourself.

This means self care, goal setting, surrounding yourself with positive support, and feeling a sense of peace. Your greatest ambition should be to love yourself. Without self-love, letting go of toxic people will be difficult.

Every relationship is a risk, but if you know yourself and what you will allow, toxic people will have less of a hold over you. If you are a giver or people pleaser, you are most at risk to being in a one-sided relationship. You shouldn’t be punished for caring, but sometimes trust needs to be earned. If you have self-love, you are treating yourself the best way possible. You know that others need to meet your standards; otherwise, they don’t get to be a part of your life.

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It’s possible that you can love yourself and still not see the signs. It can be difficult for some to be aware that toxic people exist. However,, if you know how much you mean to others in your life and what you are worth, you will be less likely to take on a relationship that is harmful to you or repeat negative patterns. Self-love is how we get out of toxic relationships, but it’s also how they never begin.

4. Know When Forgiveness Is Possible

There are times a person will prove their worth to you. They may make a mistake that makes them seem like a horrible person. They may forget to be good to you because of their own issues. They may just have no example of what a healthy relationship looks like. They may have an inflated ego that really comes from insecurity. The list goes on.

If they apologize, that’s a start. Look at their actions. Are they changing for the better because they really want to change or just seeming to in order to manipulate you? A person may control others with their image or perceived personality, but if you see through them, you may be able to discern the degree to which they are willing to be there for you.

If they start to do the right thing, you may begin to trust them again. Don’t start forgiving them until time has passed and you are sure there is growth, even if they show vulnerability or remorse. You can give a second chance if they truly have an awakening. Otherwise, it’s best to get out. Don’t let them walk all over you; let them walk out the door.

If you do give a second change and they still refuse to change, you have every right to remove them and continue the process of letting go of toxic people. The moment you even want to leave may also be a good time to get out. You don’t have to compromise yourself in order to care for them.

Forgiveness is the release of resentment or anger[3]. Forgiveness doesn’t mean reconciliation. You have to go back to the same relationship or accept the same harmful behaviors from someone. You don’t have to let them back in. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

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Remember, forgiveness is ultimately for you, not them. You don’t need that person in your life in order to forgive them, and if you give them a second chance, proceed with caution.

Final Thoughts

Recognize the red flags, set boundaries, invest in yourself, and know when forgiveness is possible. This is how you cope with a toxic person impacting your life. You have power in the direction of your life and the people who accompany you as you move forward. Use it.

If a person is worthwhile, they will prove themselves through their actions, not their words. If they cross certain lines that really harm you, you owe them nothing. You have every right to feel what you feel and to be upset. Honor your feelings and communicate them because it’ll only continue to keep happening if you don’t.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to put a stop to it. It’s time to take control. It’s time to live for yourself, not for what others say about you. It’s time to set your standards higher than they’ve ever been before. And most of all, it’s time to let go.

Resource reminder: A physically abusive relationship is ALWAYS toxic. There are resources for you. Always speak up.

If you are in such a cycle or domestic violence or abuse reach out for help. For example, there is The National Domestic Violence Hotline (https://www.thehotline.org/) which can be reached at 1−800−799−7233. There are other ways to get help if you simply ask for it. 

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Featured photo credit: Hannah Busing via unsplash.com

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